Breakfast has to be one of my favorite meals of the day. Waking up slow, listening to bacon sizzling in the pan, smelling the coffee brewing, and the sight of brightly colored fruits mixing together to make the perfect nutritious salad sounds just heavenly! Breakfast is also super simple for paleo eaters. A bunch of vegetables cooked in a pan with some butter, eggs, sausage, and hash browns would make anyone’s mouth water. Breakfast foods not included in the paleo diet are all the starchy, sweet pastries. Think bagels, muffins, pancakes, scones, French toast, waffles, oatmeal… oh my! All of a sudden, the paleo lifestyle feels super restrictive and like no fun at all! Is it possible for primal enthusiasts to have their (coffee) cake and eat it too?
I strongly believe in the foundation of the Paleo diet. Vegetables, meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, and fruit. These are the most nutrient-dense foods that will fuel human activity the best. With that being said, like everything else in life, it is important to balance needs with wants. Sure, our primal ancestors hadn’t invented pancakes yet, but this is 2015 and pancakes are a thing. A delicious thing. Living in a world where pancakes exist and never partaking in the consumption of a pancake is like… is like… hell? Or something! Part of being human isn’t just that we thrive on the diet our ancestors evolved from, but also that we are imperfect, and we eat things that we want to eat, even if we don’t require the caloric energy or nutrient density of that particular food.
With that said, there is very little found in this pancake recipe to argue against. Beta-carotene dense pumpkin puree, protein packed eggs, and satiating almond butter…. Mmmmm. It is miraculous that pancakes can be made primarily out of 3 such unassuming and nutritious ingredients. You may have seen similar recipes out there for 3 ingredient banana, sweet potato, plantain, or pumpkin pancakes. These types of pancakes, while revered by many paleo eaters, are not a perfect duplicate of classic pancakes.. I have a few considerations I always make when playing with any pancake recipe that is gluten-free.
Cooking temperature – Like with regular pancakes, a paleo pancake that is cooked on the outside and runny on the inside is downright disgusting. Unfortunately, I find the 3-ingredient pancakes tend to cook less evenly than traditional pancakes, if caught unawares. But there is an easy solution! Make sure your pan or griddle is preheated at medium heat, or 350 degrees. If you have the time to be really safe, err on the side of medium-low, or 325 degrees. You will have to be patient as the pancakes firm up, but it is worth it to have a pancake that is evenly cooked throughout the center rather than one which is burnt on the outside and runny in the middle.
Size – The idea of giant flapjacks the size of my face is very appealing, I will admit. But the problem with many 3-ingredient no-grain pancakes is their tendency to fall apart mid-flip if they are too large. While a pile of pancake scraps is still delectable and I will certainly eat them, it is not very presentable, which poses a problem as an instagrammer, blogger, and person trying to convince others that paleo pancakes are just as good as traditional pancakes. That is why I suggest making these pancakes small, around 3 inches in diameter. Also known as sand dollar pancakes, these cute little guys have the best chance of remaining in one piece while getting flipped by your spatula! The idea is to minimize pancake overhang beyond the sides of the spatula, so if you have a really large spatula, you can make the cakes a little bigger.
Ingredient ratio – So your sand dollar cakes are the proper size for flipping, but is keeping them small enough to stop your precious baby pancakes from falling apart? In the absence of the gluten which traditional pancakes contain, what stands to bind the flavorful ingredients (pumpkin, almond butter, honey) together? The eggs! If you find that your paleo pancake recipe is having a tough time keeping it together, upping the egg in the recipe can help resolve that issue. It is tempting to load up your batter with the good flavorful stuff, but without the proper ratio of egg to pumpkin and almond butter, all you will be left with in the pan is warm pumpkin mixed with melted almond butter. Sounds, kinda good… but most definitely does NOT sounds like a pancake!
I hope you find these tips helpful as you satisfy your pancake craving with this recipe!
Pumpkin Pancakes (paleo, gluten-free)
Butter or coconut oil
1 cup pureed pumpkin (canned or fresh)
¼ cup almond butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp honey
Cinnamon to taste
Nutmeg to taste
Optional toppings: maple syrup, honey, apple slices, banana slices, mini chocolate chips, almond butter, coconut flakes, whatever your creative mouth and mind desire!
Preheat griddle or pan to 325 degrees. Melt butter or coconut oil on cooking surface to grease. Mix all remaining ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Place heaping tablespoonfuls of batter onto preheated surface, and spread in a small circle with the back of a spoon. When the edges of the pancake look very dry, carefully flip the pancake to the other side to finish cooking. Stack on a plate and add whatever toppings you’d like! Enjoy!